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48

side Mr. Munn,  He thrust out his hand, which Mr. Munn

took.  He could not make out the man's face.

"I'm glad you come," the man told him, "and hit wet
and aH,"

"Thanks," Mr, Munn said, "and good-night."

"Good-night," the man replied, and turned away.

As Mr. Munn rode through the darkness the constant
undertone of the swollen creek filled his consciousness. His
eyes were more accustomed to the darkness now, or the
overcast of cloud was becoming lighter, for he could make
out the line of the road ahead of him for a little way between
the tall growths that bordered it. Then, for a while, he could
not hear the rushing water any more. The road, he decided,
must bend some distance from the creek here. He thought
of the men, by this time asleep, alone or with their wives; the
walls and roofs of their houses would conceal them and pro-
tect them. But the awareness of the fact of their comfort
and his own wakeful isolation gave him no envy. Nor did
the apparent failure of his effort that night disturb him now.
It had gone black out for him, as suddenly and as irrelevantly
as the man's face above the lamp the instant the flame was
extinguished. He might feel differently tomorrow, as he
had felt differently in the past. At what moment could a
man trust his feelings, his convictions? At what point define
the true and unmoved centre of his being, the focus of his
obligations? He could not say. And who could say? But
for the piesem the comfort of the night and isolation wrapped
Mia like a blanket.

During the fall the meetings of the board occurred often.
And always they were characterized by a half-suppressed
spirit of jubilation, of triumph, even when the most serious
awes rose for discussion. Captain Todd alone seemed to
gptni Mmself from the prevailing temper, sitting quietly
with his grave smile, his fingers drumming soundlessly on
die gme baize of the table, while the excitement moved
him. It infected the Senator, so that his gestures
abrupt and Ms eyes gleamed unnaturally; and Mr,